Salve Regina creates online Race Forum in order to discuss complex topics around racism
In order to explore the topics and racism, which is one of its five critical concerns of mercy, Salve Regina has created a Race Forum for all members of the Salve Regina community to participate in—including students, faculty and staff. The forum will be available through Microsoft Teams.
The idea of setting up an online platform for the Salve Regina community arose during the planning meetings for the Vigil and Forum for Racial Justice that took place in early June 2020 for George Floyd, Breonna Tayler, Ahmaud Arbery and other victims of injustice.
The new online Race Forum on Microsoft Teams was created by Dr. Robin Hoffmann, professor of administration of justice; Dr. Sami Nassim, assistant vice president for student success and director of multicultural programs; and Rose Albert, assistant director of multicultural programs and retention.
In a written statement crafted by all three Salve Regina employees about the Race Forum, all three acknowledged that anti-racism remains a relevant topic within the community.
“Racism is part of our history and neglecting to have those relevant conversations is a detriment to our community,” the statement began. “In light of the national focus on racism and anti-racism and the events of this summer, it is vitally important to continue our discussions about these issues. Some members of our Salve community have already been having these conversations but the new platform provides a new way to engage in ongoing dialogue.”
Dr. Nassim, Dr. Hoffmann, and Albert believe that an online forum provides the opportunity to craft a carefully worded concern or response without being in the heat of the moment during in-person dialogue. The current online format also acknowledges the current need to socially distance and the fact that some Salve Regina community members are not able to be on campus this semester due to the pandemic. With the online Race Forum, a structured dialogue can occur where questions can be asked and people can easily follow the conversation thread.
“We hope that it will become a focal point for conversations,” they said. “If certain topics keep surfacing, we may determine that there is a need to focus on these topics by bringing guest speakers to campus or holding another type of forum to enhance understanding. It is our hope that this platform will enable members of the Salve community to discuss uncomfortable and controversial issues as well as express concerns. The hope is to have students know that we have a platform for them to share their on and off campus experiences around race no matter the magnitude of the issue.”
To access the Race Forum, a member of the Salve Regina community simply needs to log into the Salve Portal with their normal credentials, click on Microsoft 365 and find Microsoft Teams. The Race Forum is a public team on Microsoft Teams, and anyone at Salve Regina can then join the team.
If anyone has questions, please direct them to Dr. Sami Nassim at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Featured photo of a Black Lives Matter march that happened in the past.